lundi 4 février 2013

Handshoe, Goodson, Bankston, Vandenweghe, Lauricella: maybe Handshoe has been projecting his own life experiences onto others: Updated

In January, 2012, Slabbed blog publisher Douglas K. Handshoe demonstrated a remarkable memory:
Remember back in the late 90s several state legislators were indicted along with certain people in the video poker business? One of the allegations centered on then State Senator Larry Bankston making people in need of legislative help rent his Florida Condo at an inflated price.
Now, why would Mr. Handshoe have such a peculiar memory for a 90s scandal involving a Louisiana state senator? Handshoe lives and works as a CPA in Mississippi.

Turns out, Louisiana Secretary of State records show that Mr. Handshoe was in business since the early 1990s with some people named Goodson in the Slidell Motel, Inc. at 916 Morgan Bluff Rd, Pearl River, Louisiana, the home of Fred H. Goodson. Specifically, Fred H. Goodson was President and Mr. Handshoe was Treasurer of that corporation. That is not an arms-length relationship.

Slidell Motel, Inc. became part of Louisiana State Police investigations into Goodson's lucrative truck stop gambling operations, which quickly turned into a federal Grand Jury investigation and multiple indictments. The Baton Rouge Advocate stated that "Fred H. Goodson , 55, of 916 Morgan Bluff, Pearl River" was arrested by State Police "on 10 counts of submitting false documents to the state police Video Gaming Division." In July, 1995: Goodson and his attorney were still trying to make it look like everything was legitimate. The Times-Picayune reported:
On a video poker application, the form asks whether the applicant or any partner has ever been involved in a bankruptcy. Goodson answered, "No." 

However, records show that F.H.G. Corp., owned solely by 
Goodson and his wife, Martha, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1990. The company, which at one time owned both the truck stop franchise and the hotel, filed for bankruptcy after an unsuccessful attempt to build a new hotel and restaurant on Old Spanish Trail in the late 1980s. Under Chapter 11, a company is shielded from its creditors while it tries to reorganize its debts. 

When F.H.G. filed bankruptcy, the company had more than $2.4 million in debts, including $189,183 that 
Goodson claimed was due to himself. 

Before filing Chapter 11, however, F.H.G. sold the truck stop franchise to a new company called 
Slidell 76 Auto Truck Plaza, and the hotel to a new company called Slidell Motel Inc. Both companies are also owned by Goodson , his wife and in-laws. 

Bankruptcy trustee David Adler said in 1993 court proceedings that 
Goodson purposely sold off those profit-making assets to insiders at less than market value, essentially stripping the company. Adler also said that Goodson inappropriately gave himself and other insiders cash bonuses and alleged debt payments totaling more than $800,000; sold family members' insurance policies valued at $301,804 for less than market value; and tried to personally collect on a $282,437 loan from F.H.G. to the truck stop. 
Slidell Motel was intimately involved in Goodson's truck stop gambling operations. Again, the Times-Picayune:
At the glitzy O'Aces gambling parlor in Slidell , patrons can come and go amid 50 video poker machines without having to encounter truck scales, diesel fuel or any of that notoriously strong truckers' coffee. In fact, the Budget Host Hotel that houses O'Aces doesn't even allow 18-wheelers to park on the property. 
Yet, according to State Police, it's a truck stop, or at least part of one. That's the only way it could legally have 50 video poker machines. Next door, at the Slidell 76 truck stop, there are no video poker machines. 
State Police viewed the businesses as one operation under owner Fred Goodson , and accordingly issued the lounge a lucrative truck stop video poker permit in 1992.
Some sources indicate Handshoe joined Slidell Motel as an officer in '92, but Secretary of State files show Handshoe's name first appeared in February, 1999. Who knows?

Then there's H.O.M. of Mississippi, Inc. where Doug Handshoe was Registered Agent for the Goodsons, again. Fred Goodson liked forming companies with initials, "BAJ," "FHG," "HOM."

Who are these Goodsons and what happened?

Let's let the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals summarize:
Larry Bankston ("Bankston"), Fred Goodson, Maria Goodson, and Carl Cleveland ("Cleveland") appeal from their June 27, 1997, convictions and October 15, 1997, sentences for various offenses related to criminal activity in the Louisiana video poker industry. Fred Goodson and Cleveland, along with Alex Goodson, Maria Goodson, and Truck Stop Gaming, Inc. ("TSG, Inc."), additionally appeal the district court's judgment of forfeiture of Truck Stop Gaming, Ltd. ("TSG, Ltd.") and TSG, Inc. as part of the RICO enterprise. The Government cross-appeals, challenging the district court's calculation of both Bankston's and Maria Goodson's sentences. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the Appellants' convictions and sentences and the forfeiture of TSG, Ltd. and TSG, Inc.
On October 4, 1996, the Government charged now former Louisiana State Senators Benjamin "Sixty" Rayburn and Larry Bankston; video poker entrepreneur Fred Goodson; his daughter, Maria Goodson; family attorney, Carl Cleveland; and the family's accountant, Joe Morgan, with a combination of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, conducting an illegal gambling business, money laundering, tax conspiracy, false declaration under penalty of perjury, aiding and abetting a false declaration under penalty of perjury, and interstate communications in aid of racketeering. Most of the charges against the Goodsons, Cleveland, and Joe Morgan related to the establishment, licensing, and operation of TSG, Ltd. The Government alleged that the defendants had schemed to defraud state regulators in obtaining video poker licenses for TSG, Ltd., and to obtain favorable legislation affecting Louisiana's video poker industry. Specifically, the Government alleged that the defendants obtained a gaming license for TSG, Ltd. in 1992 and renewed in 1993, 1994, and 1995, by fraudulently concealing the identity of the true owners of the company, Fred Goodson and Carl Cleveland. According to the Government, Goodson and Cleveland concealed their ownership in order to avoid the probing inquiry of the State's suitability assessment.
According to court records, a team of prosecutors conducted the criminal trial and sentencing, including a familiar name:


The criminal convictions were upheld by the 5th Circuit. Turns out TSG, Inc.'s officers had that same Pearl River address--Fred Goodson's spacious home--used to register "Slidell Motel, Inc." TSG, Ltd. was indeed liquidated "as part of the RICO enterprise" in a 1997 bankruptcy proceeding. Searching the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system turns up Mr. Handshoe as the  accountant for Truck Stop Gaming, Ltd., too. Imagine that.
At the same time, in 1997, after the criminal convictions, Handshoe and the Goodsons incorporated yet another company, but not in Louisiana, this time in Mississippi: "Interstate Management Services, Inc." Why was that?
Interestate Management purportedly engaged in "management consulting."

Now, according to the federal Court of Appeal, former Senator Rayburn was represented by counsel during the criminal investigation:
Michael Fawer represented Goodson's co-defendant, former Louisiana State Senator Rayburn, through the investigative stage of this case. Fawer assisted Rayburn in responding to three grand jury subpoenas, had discussions with the Government regarding the nature of the charges being considered against Rayburn, and appeared in court on behalf of Rayburn at the initial appearance, as well as later to argue motions.
On November 5, 1996, Fawer withdrew as counsel for Rayburn, and Arthur A. Lemann, III replaced Fawer as counsel for Rayburn. On February 24, 1997, Goodson moved the district court to associate Fawer as additional counsel for him.
No wonder Mr. Handshoe says he "had the chance to spend a couple of days" with B. B. "Sixty" Rayburn a decade or so ago, exchanging stories on things like governor's pardons. Covington-based attorney Fawer thus represented Goodson in the criminal trial. Fawer also just happens to now be longstanding law partners with Randall A. Smith, who represents Waste Remediation of Plaquemines, the company owned by former state senator "Hank" and his son Louis Lauricella, in a lawsuit along with Concrete Busters of Louisiana against River Birch Landfill. 

The Times-Picayune reported in September, 1995:
Six legislative seats were opened up to new blood when lawmakers mentioned in the [gambling investigation] FBI affidavits decided against seeking re-election. 

Sen. Larry Bankston, D-Port Hudson, accused of playing a central role in a conspiracy to manipulate legislative votes on video poker issues, conceded that the FBI investigation prompted his withdrawal. After first declaring he would press on with a re-election bid, Bankston said this past week that "unfair and unsubstantiated allegations" would require a relentless campaign effort that would be unfair to his family. 

Sen. Gerry Hinton, R-Slidell, also said the investigation influenced his decision to withdraw. Hinton figured prominently in the inquiry as a close ally of video poker developer Fred Goodson . 

Two other lawmakers who withdrew in recent days denied that the federal investigation forced them out. They are Sens. Hank Lauricella , R-Harahan, and Marty Chabert, D-Chauvin, who owns a video poker truck stop in his hometown.
So, former Senator Larry Bankston and former Senator "Hank" Lauricella served in the Senate together at the same time, even on at least one of the same committees:

The charges against Senator Rayburn were specifically related to Truck Stop Gaming, Ltd., and everything related to accounting for monies allegedly or actually paid to bribe state senators like Rayburn and Bankston by Goodson. 

Now, there's nothing to suggest that the state police or federal investigators targeted young Doug Handshoe, CPA, but Handshoe himself has repeatedly drawn attention to Bankston on Slabbed without so much as  mentioning his close association with those involved in the political corruption scandal and crimes. Handshoe was Treasurer of a corporation linked to the bribery scandal and State Police investigation, fellow corporate officer with a convicted felon, and accountant for another corporation at the center of the federal criminal investigation into bribery, money laundering, and RICO. These themes might sound familiar to anyone who reads Slabbed today.

In one Slabbed comment published by Handshoe, "rocheblave" helpfully quotes from a Times-Picayune story:
The indictment charges Bankston with accepting from Goodson a $1,555 bribe disguised as rent on Bankston’s condominium in Orange Beach, Ala. The FBI alleges that Goodson never stayed at the condo and that the payment was for help killing legislation that sought to subject video poker to a referendum.
Bankston also allegedly was promised a hidden interest in Truck Stop Gaming and $100,000 of stock in Tempico Corp., another Goodson company, to help persuade State Police to allow Goodson to resume operations at his Slidell video poker lounge.
In addition to racketeering and conspiracy charges, Morgan also is accused of money laundering, conducting an illegal gambling business and falsifying tax returns.
Morgan allegedly was involved with BAJ Corp., which Cleveland is accused of setting up to funnel thousands of dollars of video poker proceeds to Rayburn’s children.
Prosecutors claim the payments were bribes for the senator’s votes to shield the industry.
As a result of a separate gambling investigation, William Broadhurst, the former law partner of former Gov. Edwin Edwards, faces arraignment today on charges that he skimmed money from construction contracts for two floating casinos that operated in New Orleans for only six weeks in 1995.
The indictment did not specify how much money Broadhurst allegedly gained, but accused him of four counts of mail fraud involving checks totaling $255,555.
The failed New Orleans project, known as River City, was a partnership of Grand Palais Riverboats, headed by resort developer Christopher Hemmeter, and a New Jersey-based company, Capital Gaming International. Broadhurst was a consultant to Grand Palais, the indictment said.”
Mr. Handshoe felt the need to augment the Times-Picayune article, seemingly being an apologist for some of the actors:
Funny thing "rocheblave" mentioning Christopher Hemmeter and Grand Palais Riverboats, for that's precisely who "unslabbed" Anne-Marie Vandenweghe did $12,000 in legal work for in 1994, while her law license was suspended and she was Jefferson Parish councilwoman, thus violating state law, according to contemporary reports by the Times-Picayune
It was revealed that Vandenweghe, a lawyer, had done about $12,000 in law work for the Grand Palais riverboat casino in New Orleans.
Vandenweghe campaign spokesman said she did not violate the law because at the time of her work, the Grand Palais had not yet received the State Police document designating it as a license holder. State Police, however, said they consider a boat licensed when they vote to issue a license, not when they hand over the document, which typically occurs months later. 
Vandenweghe has also acknowledged advising Crown Casino Corp. during a zoning battle in St. Charles Parish. She did not return telephone calls Monday. 

. . . .

Vandenweghe 's work for Grand Palais came during a period when the Louisiana Bar Association and the state Supreme Court considered her ineligible to practice law in Louisiana. The bar and the court placed her on an ineligible list from Jan. 1 to Dec 12, 1994, because they hadn't received her professional fees for the year. 

Now, another Handshoe shows up with the Louisiana Secretary of State corporations database: Daniel K. Handshoe, a person 3 years Doug's elder. Where does Mr. Daniel work? Harahan, Louisiana, long time home of "Hank" Lauricella, Anne-Marie Vandenweghe, and Salvador Perricone. Some web sites actually suggest that one of Doug's aliases is "Daniel K. Handshoe." Maybe. More likely, they are just close relatives.

Why wouldn't "new media journalist" Doug Handshoe clearly declare his personal links with the Bankston/Goodson criminal investigation and convictions? What's the association that keeps popping up between Doug Handshoe & Anne-Marie Vandenweghe with the Lauricellas & Harahan? How about Vandenweghe, Handshoe, and gambling interests? Strange . . .  Lots to discover. I wonder if Daniel Abel is reading this?

It all makes one view Handshoe's self-professed family links to the mafia in a new light:
Before I tackle the subject of post Katrina police shootings in New Orleans I’ll publically disclose the man whom I knew as my grandfather (actually step granddad) growing up in Waveland was retired NOPD. He was admired widely for years after he left the force by the other officers but not for any particular acts of bravery or heroism. Rather the adulation derived from keeping his mouth shut after he was indicted by the feds who were investigating mafia corruption in New Orleans circa 1950′s and 60′s. The story goes Carlos paid off the jury and the rest is history when he was acquitted. In all the stories granddad told me of his life as a police officer/mafia bagman never once did the term justice ever enter into the conversation. It simply was not in the culture of the NOPD.

Then there's the total hypocrisy and hubris of Handshoe casting aspersions on others for associating with now-admitted felons like Aaron Broussard, while failing to mention that he himself--a self-purported "citizen for good government"-- was once in business with persons convicted as felons involved in a wide-ranging public corruption scandal. One can start to understand that maybe Handshoe has been projecting his own life experiences onto others.

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